Thursday, October 30, 2014

Friday, October 24, 2014

Yukon Fun

Other highlights of our adventure in Whitehorse:

Yukon Legislative Assembly

Ice Age Mammals Exhibit at Yukon Arts Centre

World's Largest Weather Vane (DC-3) at Yukon Transportation Museum

Yukon Wildlife Preserve

Takhini Hot Springs

Yukon's most famous artist: Ted Harrison

Serena's favourite bookstore: Mac's Fireweed Books

Serena posing with the bust of Jack London, author of "The Call of the Wild", and holding her special Whitehorse souvenir - a little bear made of real sealskin by Yukon artisan Lena White.

(Reference: The Yukon Song in Calvin and Hobbes comic by Bill Watterson)

Yukon River

The longest river in Alaska and Yukon, the Yukon River was a major transportation route during the Gold Rush. It is also an important territory for the Kwanlin Dun First Nation people. We visited the Kwanlin Dun Cultural Centre where we learned lots about the displacement of the Tagish Kwan people and their petition to return to their traditional territory along the Yukon River.

Kwanlin means "running water through canyon" in Southern Tutchone. Miles Canyon and Whitehorse Rapids were major challenges for the prospectors traveling on the Yukon River during the Gold Rush. We enjoyed a good hike on a beautiful crisp day through Miles Canyon with its impressive 50-foot high basaltic walls.

The Old Log Church, built in 1900, is the one of the oldest building in Whitehorse. It was started by an Anglican missionary to minister to gold seekers and the First Nations.

Isaac O. Stringer, the second Bishop of Yukon, is widely known as the "bishop who ate his boots". He and his travelers were lost in the mountains one wintry October in 1909 and had resorted to eating their sealskin boots to survive!

Bishop noted in his diary:

"Thursday, Oct 21. Breakfast of sealskin boot, soles and tops boiled and toasted. Soles better than uppers. Soup of small scraps and bacon... the last we had; tired; hands sore; took a long time to pack up..."

Later that day, they stumbled upon human help. Two weeks later they resumed their 500-mile trek to Dawson.

Quote from the Old Log Church Museum

Yukon Ho!

We had a rare opportunity to visit Whitehorse, Yukon last week. What an eye-opener to see this northern part of our country!

We studied the Klondike Gold Rush back in May, and Yukon is of course chock full of Gold Rush history and artifacts. The MacBride Museum of Yukon History is a must-see if you ever visit Whitehorse!

This 1899 cabin belonged to the real Sam McGee, whose name became famous because of Robert W. Service's well-known (though fictional) poem "The Cremation of Sam McGee".

The Wild World Gallery of the museum features all sorts of Yukon animals and birds. Serena loved being able to touch and feel the different animal pelts, from wolf to ermine!

Serena's favourite part of the museum: dress-up closet filled with period costume from the Gold Rush era!

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Skeletal & Muscular Systems

The song of choice for our study of the skeletal system is "Them Not-So-Dry Bones" by Schoolhouse Rock - Daddy remembers watching those cartoons as a kid on the weekend!

The Interactive Skeleton is a great tool to learn all about the anatomy of bones. We used it as a guide to label our skeleton model.

We watched a National Geographic video on bone stretching in China, a painful surgical procedure to make people taller. It's very scary...

It makes sense to learn about our muscles and joints in tandem with our bone study. Serena particularly enjoyed this muscular system video because she learned a new term that made her giggle: Gluteus Maximus.

Sing "Muscles Make You Stronger" and dance with a skeleton!

Happy Halloween!

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Poet of the People: Pablo Neruda

The Dreamer by Pam Munoz Ryan

The Dreamer is a biographical fiction about a boy named Neftali who loves to dream, collect things, and write, and hopes to become a poet one day. Neftali Reyes is a famous Chilean poet who goes by the pen name of Pablo Neruda. He wrote under his pen name because his Father disapproved of Neftali's career as a poet.
I relate to Neftali in the story because I like to collect things and daydream too! Both me and Neftali love the forest and nature around us. The story is full of imagination and poetry which I love: the imagery of the full forest, the shiny beetle, the Chucao bird, the swans in the lagoon, the rolling ocean, the acorn, the feather, the yellow sheep... The story is sprinkled with beautiful daydreamy poems like this one:

"Is fire born of words? 
Or are words born of fire?"

I find the pointillism illustrations by Peter Sis very unique and symbolic to the story. My favourite part of the story is when Neftali finally gains the courage inside to realize that his Father is wrong - he is not "absent-minded" and not going to "amount to nothing".

This is the second book I've read by Pam Munoz Ryan after Riding Freedom. I'm looking forward to reading another book by the same author, Paint the Wind.